published Monday, October 28th, 2013

Apple's iPhone sales rise, but 4Q earnings fall

  • photo
    File photo shows buildings reflected in the glass of the Apple Store in New York
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Apple's latest quarterly earnings fell 9 percent as more people bought the company's lower-priced iPhones and iPads.

The company's fourth-quarter results announced Monday included early sales of the latest iPhones released late last month.

The models, called the 5S and 5C, helped Apple Inc. increase its iPhone sales from the same time last year. But the average price that Apple fetched for its iPhones declined to extend a recent trend that has trimmed the Cupertino, Calif. company's profit margin and depressed its stock price.

This marks the third consecutive quarter that Apple's earnings have dropped from the previous year.

Apple earned $7.5 billion, or $8.26 per share, during the three months ending Sept. 28. That compared to income of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per share, last year.

The latest quarterly earnings topped the average estimate of $7.92 per share among analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $37.5 billion - about $600 million above analyst predictions.

Investors were hoping for a better showing and, perhaps, a more optimistic forecast for the current quarter, which covers the crucial holiday shopping season. Management forecast revenue ranging from $55 billion to $58 billion in the quarter ending in late December. Analysts had projected revenue of $55.6 billion.

Apple's stock shed $11.09, or 2 percent, to $518.79 in extended trading after the numbers came out. The stock is down about 25 percent from its peak reached 13 months ago, reflecting Wall Street's worries about the earnings slump amid fiercer competition in the smartphone and tablet computer market. Investors are also concerned that the company hasn't introduced a breakthrough product since the death of Apple's co-founder and chief visionary, Steve Jobs, two years ago.

The company sold 33.8 million iPhones in the past quarter, a 26 percent increase from the same time last year. But the prices for those iPhones averaged $577, a 7 percent decrease from an average price of $618 a year ago.

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